Jan 4, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis reacts in the first half against the Indianapolis Colts in the 2014 AFC Wild Card playoff football game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Anyone who has paid any attention whatsoever to the NFL the last four years knows that the Cincinnati Bengals are the epitome of pretenders. They struggle in primetime. They struggle against mediocre teams. They are consistently defeated by Super Bowl contenders. And they struggle when it matters, in the playoffs.
This has been the team’s reality for more than the last four seasons, it has been since Paul Brown passed away; or in other words, since Mike Brown has taken over. But this struggle for success has never been more true than in that of the Marvin Lewis era. Let’s review a year to year symopsis of Lewis’ career in Cincinnati.
2003 : 8-8 – Good standing. The team has never been this competitive.
2004: 8-8 – Back to Back years without a losing record for the first time since 1989 to 1990
2005: 11-5 AFC North Champions. Loss in Wild Card Round (0-1 overall)
2006: 8-8 – At least we did not finish in last. Notable losses: San Diego – 42 points in the second half, Baltimore – 14 points given up on blown kickoff returns. Denver – botched extra point on Christmas. Point being, the struggle against mediocre teams is there.
2007: 7-9 – Back to a losing season. Multiple arrests. Marvin Lewis is losing control.
2008: 4-11-1 – Started off the season 0-10-1. Carson Palmer has been hurt the entire season. Time for a re-build.
2009: 10-6 – Division champions and sweep of the AFC North. Lost in the Wild Card round to the Jets (0-2).
2010: 4-12 – Carson Palmer has quit on the team and Bob Bratkowski has been fired. Lewis has lost 29 games in three seasons and has not won a playoff game over the course of eight. Is it time for him to go? Of course not.
2011 – 2014: “Andy Dalton era”. Lewis has lost four consecutive playoff games. Since 2008, Lewis has lost 52 games. That is just under 7.5 games a season. Add in the additional four playoff losses, and Lewis should not have ground to stand on.
Ah, but he does. He is lucky. He has an owner that has made these two statements in the last couple of days.
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On Firing Employees – “I have seen my father fired. It seared his soul. It impacted our family, in a major way. It’s something that has stayed in my mind ever since. I’m a little more reluctant to do it to others, probably, because I experienced it.”
On Winning in the Post-Season – “People locally have come to judge us on our failure to win a playoff game. I’m pleased we’re in the playoffs.”
Considering those two statements and the fact that Marvin Lewis should have been fired in 2010, how can anyone believe that Lewis will not be the coach in 2015. He is under contract and he has the excuse of injuries for this season’s failure.
On top of that, Lewis Katie Blackburn and Duke Tobin are acting as General Manager by committee, and Lewis has said this already.
On if Lewis is coming back next season, “That’s the plan.”